Beyond the Boardroom

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John Farrow

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
April, 2018 Issue

North Bay native, John Farrow, acquired a love for building during childhood, creating entire cities with Legos. Today, he is president and chief executive officer of Farrow Construction—a nationwide company specializing in green building, sustainability, permit and planning and various residential and commercial building projects. In his 27th year of business, Farrow’s grown from a small company that started from scratch, with no loans or financing, to a business generating more than $20 million annually. Farrow’s current focus is on helping rebuild the residential homes of those affected by the October wildfires.

What do you like most about your industry?

The opportunity to build and create—take nothing and turn it into something that can last a lifetime. What I like least is those within our industry who give contractors a bad name by over promising and under-delivering as well as being unethical, dishonest or uncaring.

What does your office look like?

Professional, clean and tidy.

If you could be the king of the North Bay and instantaneously change something about it, what would it be?
The traffic and how interchanges have been designed.

What’s one thing you’d really like to learn to do?

Play piano and type without peeking.

When you’re home, do you wear shoes, socks or go barefoot?
All of the above. It depends on if I’m working on the house or in the backyard, relaxing or at the pool.

What’s been your favorite project?

I don’t have a favorite. I enjoy each project—the transformation, upgrading or new build out of the ground.

Has business changed for you following the October wildfires?

Yes. We have taken our national focus and started to concentrate on helping our local friends and neighbors rebuild.

If you could be one article of clothing, what would you be and who would you want it to belong to?

A dirt-bike helmet belonging to my son, so I could listen to him laugh as he rides fast and takes on jumps.

What do you consider your best quality?
Transparency, honesty and integrity.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Dirt biking, skiing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, hiking, backpacking, golfing, cooking and entertaining.

If you could have only one piece of furniture in your house, what would you want it to be?

A bed, because you need rest to tackle the world.

What lesson has failure taught you?
Failure is a process. Failures are lessons to teach us how to succeed and not make the same mistakes moving forward. My favorite quote is from Thomas Edison. When a reporter asked how it felt to have failed a thousand times before successfully inventing the light bulb, Edison replied, “I didn’t fail a thousand times. It was a thousand step process.”

What was your first car?
A 1967 baby blue Volkswagen Beetle

What’s your favorite day of the week?

Every day above ground is my favorite day because life is amazing. However, Saturday is great.


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